Last weekend, a staggering 10,000 plus fans showed up for Vanafest 2012 at the Pacifico Yokohama in Nishi-ku, Yokohama, Japan. A weekend-long fan event held by Square-Enix to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Final Fantasy XI: Online. During the festivities at Vanafest 2012, Square-Enix surprisingly announced a new expansion title for the long running MMORPG titled Seekers of Adoulin due out next year for the XBOX 360 and Windows PC platforms. While the expansion will not be released on the Playstation 2 system outside of Japan, Seekers of Adoulin is the first true expansion to be released since 2007’s Wings of the Goddess.
At Vanafest 2012, President and CEO of the Shibuya-based video game developer, Yoichi Wada boasted an astonishing 250,000 plus YEARS of total play time amongst Final Fantasy XI: Online subscribers and declared it the company’s most lucrative iteration of the flagship series. Following a disastrous launch of last year’s Final Fantasy XIV: Online, Wada openly admitted that the next-generation MMORPG “damaged the Final Fantasy brand” following lackluster sales and brutal industry reviews. Most critics would suggest that Square-Enix should curb any gloating about the company’s most profitable title, being a product of the last generation, but evidently their focus remains unchanged.
Clearly the biggest announcement at Vanafest 20212 was the addition of two new playable jobs: Geomancer and Rune Fencer. Traditionally in other Final Fantasy games, a Geomancer is more of an offensive job that utilizes elemental magic and primal abilities. In Final Fantasy XI: Online however, Geomancers will be a support job that can buff party members much like a Bard and enfeeble enemies similar to that of a Red Mage. A Geomancer’s competency will depend upon his or her bell skill and granting healing over time effects while boosting basic core attributes. When facing enemies, they can grant magic and defense down bonuses to debuff your opponent. Developers further distinguished the Geomancer by adding a feature called Polarity which allows players to boost their own abilities depending on which direction they stand with relation to the enemy. In contrast, Rune Fencer is meant to be the third tank job after Paladin and Ninja. A Rune Fencer will maintain enmity from their opponents through using magic based defenses and elemental runes to increase offensive ability. At Vanafest 2012, developers stressed that they wanted to give each job its own definition and feel that Rune Fencer will offer a desirable alternative to the conventional Paladin or Ninja tanks.
Promotional video shown at Vanafest 2012.